23 January 2015
Bafana Bafana midfielder-cum-striker Thuso Phala says they are prepared to fight to the bitter end to get out of the deep hole they find themselves in.
Phala was referring to the 1-3 loss to Algeria in the opening clash of the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015 touranment on Monday at Stade de Mongomo.
The result has put South Africa in a difficult position to qualify for the knock-out stages.
“The dressing room was sad,” he said. “We were very disappointed because, in all honesty, that was a game we were supposed to win and by a big margin. We let the coach down, we let ourselves down and the country down – but it is important for us to forget about the game as soon as we can so we can focus on the challenge ahead.
“The lesson we got out of this match is that we have to take our chances, because if we miss them we will be putting ourselves under pressure. We could have wrapped that game early,” said Phala who scored South Africa’s solitary goal in that match.
Bafana Bafana will be hoping for a positive outcome when they face Senegal on Friday, 23 January, at the Estadio de Mongomo.
Coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba has made two changes to South Africa’s starting 11.
Jackson Mabokgwane will start in goals in place of Darren Keet, who played against Algeria in the opening match that Bafana Bafana lost 1-3.
Playing in front of Mabokgwane will be the back four of Anele Ngcongca at right-back, Thabo Matlaba at left-back, and the central defence pairing of Erick Mathoho and Thulani Hlatshwayo.
Mathoho returns after a one-match suspension following two yellow cards in the qualifying stages of the tournament. He takes the place of Rivaldo Coetzee, who is out due to a knee injury sustained in the match against Algeria.
Both Mathoho and Mabokgwane are playing in their first Afcon tournament.
The midfield remains unchanged with Dean Furman, Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa and Thuso Phala, who scored South Africa’s only goal in the opening match, given the nod. Furman will once again captain the side.
Tokelo Rantie and Sibusiso Vilakazi also retain their places upfront.
“We all come from teams who have lost games before; we have all been in a hole before,” Phala said. “We came together as players and spoke about it. We keep motivating ourselves because we know we are a good team and we will come back strongly in the remaining two games.”
Bafana play Ghana in their final Group C match on 27 January.
Kick off is at 9pm SA time (8pm local time) at Stade de Mongomo.
How they will line up:
SA XI vs Algeria: 22-Jackson Mabokgwane (GK), 6-Anele Ngcongca, 11- Thabo Matlaba, 14-Thulani Hlatshwayo, 3-Eric Mathoho, 15-Dean Furman (C), 5-Andile Jali, 20-Oupa Manyisa, 18-Thuso Phala, 10-Sibusiso Vilakazi, 23-Tokelo Rantie.
Subs: 16-Darren Keet (GK), 1-Brilliant Khuzwayo (GK), 21-Ayanda Gcaba, 13-Thamsanqa Sangweni, 19-Themba Zwane, 12-Reneilwe Letsholonyane, 7-Mandla Masango, 8-Bongani Zungu, 17-Bernard Parker, 4-Siyabonga Nhlapho, 9-Bongani Ndulula.
Injured: 2-Rivaldo Coetzee
AFCON 2015 FIXTURES
All times CAT (SA, GMT+2)
Friday 23 January 2015
- Ghana v Algeria – Estadio de Mongomo: 6pm
- South Africa v Senegal – Estadio de Mongomo: 9pm
Saturday 24 January 2015
- Cote d’Ivoire v Mali – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 6pm
Sunday 25 January 2015
- Gabon v Equatorial Guinea – Estadio de Bata: 8pm
- Congo v Burkina Faso – Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyin: 8pm
Monday 26 January 2015
- Cape Verde Islands v Zambia – Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyin: 8pm
- Congo DR v Tunisia – Estadio de Bata: 8pm
Tuesday 27 January 2015
- South Africa v Ghana – Estadio de Mongomo: 8pm
- Senegal v Algeria – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 8pm
Wednesday 28 January 2015
- Guinea v Mali – Estadio de Mongomo: 8pm
- Cameroon v Cote d’Ivoire – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 8pm
Saturday 31 January 2015
- Group A Winner v Group B Second Place – Estadio de Bata: 6pm
- Group B Winner v Group A Second Place – Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyin: 9pm
Sunday 1 February 2015
- Group C Winner v Group D Second Place – Estadio de Mongomo: 6pm
- Group D Winner v Group C Second Place – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 9pm
Wednesday 4 February 2015
- Quarterfinal 1 Winner v Quarterfinal 4 Winner – Estadio de Bata: 9pm
Thursday 5 February 2015
- Quarterfinal 2 Winner v Quarterfinal 3 Winner – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 9pm
Saturday 7 February 2015
- Semifinal 1 Loser v Semifinal 2 Loser – Nuevo Estadio de Malabo: 8pm
Sunday 8 February 2015
- Semifinal 1 Winner v Semifinal 2 Winner – Estadio de Bata: 9pm